1 . Pulse Polio Programme for 2018 launched
The President of India, has launched the Pulse Polio programme for 2018 on the eve of the National Immunization Day, which is observed on 28th Jan . More than 17 crore children of less than five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country.
Pulse Polio Programme again – Why?
We need to remain vigilant and maintain the population immunity and sensitive surveillance till global polio eradication happens as poliovirus is still circulating in other parts of the world which may reinfect us . It is an effort to maintain the country’s ‘polio-free’ status.
In order to mitigate the risk of poliovirus importation, the immunity against polio infection is maintained through National and Sub-National Polio rounds along with sustained high quality polio surveillance. To provide additional protection to the children, Government of India has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization program .
Recent initiatives regarding immunization from other diseases
Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) is focusing on to protect children from more diseases and has introduced several new vaccines like Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, Rotavirus vaccine, and Measles-Rubella in the recent past.
To further strengthen and accomplish the goals Mission Indradhanush has been launched and encouraged by its success, government has recently intensified the mission in October, 2017 to achieve more than 90% full immunization coverage by 2018 .
Strengthening of immunization programme has significantly contributed to the decline of Infant Mortality Rate to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016 .
2 . International Customs Day
Annually held on January 26, International Customs Day (ICD) recognizes the role of custom officials and agencies in maintaining border security. It focuses on the working conditions and challenges that customs officers face in their jobs.
Instituted by the World Customs Organization (WCO), International Customs Day is held on January 26, which commemorates the day in 1953 when the inaugural session of the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) was held in Brussels, Belgium. Seventeen European countries attended this session. In 1994 the CCC was renamed World Customs Organization (WCO) and today custom organizations from 179 countries are WCO members.
3 . Possible cause of neurodevelopmental disorders found
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) are secreted signalling molecules which are already known to regulate the production of neurons from neural stem cells.
Now, using mice models, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has found that BMP signalling is active in the cerebral cortex during embryonic development as well as during later stages of development after birth, too.
Regulation of processes through BMP signalling
They found that BMP signalling regulates three processes — the migration of newborn neurons from stem cell niche to their destined place in the cortex, polarity (the axon forming the base and the dendrites forming the apical or top side) of neuronal cells, and branching of dendrites in the upper layer neurons of the cerebral cortex.
The cerebral cortex has six neuronal layers formed in an inside-out manner. The early-born neurons form the inner cortical layers while the late-born neurons form the outermost layers. So any perturbation or delay in the migration of newborn neurons results in disturbed layer formation and lack of proper connectivity between neurons.
Similarly, when polarity (alignment) or branching of dendrites is affected, the neurons will not be able to form proper electrical connections. Though there are other factors that determine migration and polarity, the role of BMP signalling in these two processes was not known till now.
Disorders linked to aberrant migration of neurons
There are many neurodevelopmental disorders linked to aberrant migration of neurons such as lissencephaly, autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia .
We now know that inhibition of BMP signalling leads to delayed migration and this may be one of the causes for such disorders. Thus, it might be possible to prevent or treat these diseases if further research is carried out .